The Korea Herald


Top 10% of creators take 76 percent of content profits: data

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Feb. 9, 2024 - 16:00

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The top 10 percent of content creators accounted for 76 percent of all creators’ total income in 2022, according to data released Thursday.

The National Tax Service data, obtained and released by Rep. Yang Kyung-sook of the Democratic Party of Korea, put the number of people who reported income as individual media creators at 39,366 in 2022 and their total aggregated income at 1.14 trillion won ($859 million).

The data showed that the majority of the income is concentrated among some highly successful YouTubers.

The top 10 percent of creators in terms of income, comprising 3,937 individuals, reported combined earnings of 868.4 billion won, representing 76 percent of the sector’s total. This translates to an annual income of 221 million won per person.

As for the top 1 percent, which includes 393 people, their average earnings stood at 848 million won in 2022, marking a 26.4 percent increase from 671 million won in 2019.

The average income of all creators stood at 29 million won in 2022, down from 32 million won in 2019, but most earn much less than that -- creators outside the top 10 percent earned an average of just 7.6 million won.

The average salaried worker in Korea earned 42.14 million won that year.

The NTS data points to an ever-intensifying competition in the market, with the number of creators rising drastically over the past years.

In 2019, there were 2,766 individual creators in South Korea, but the tally shot to 20,756 in 2020 and 34,219 in 2021.

Their combined income also increased from 87.5 billion won in 2019 to 452.1 billion won in 2020 and 858.9 billion won in 2021, surpassing 1 trillion won in 2022.

The number of YouTubers has surged, leading to a significant increase in their total earnings,” said Rep. Yang. “However, this also means that competition has become fierce, and only a very small number of YouTubers are able to earn substantial income. It shows in reality, making a living solely from YouTube is challenging.”